Minnesota Vikings: 10 easy predictions for 2019 to set expectations

(Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images) Marcus Sherels
(Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images) Marcus Sherels /
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(Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images) Xavier Rhodes
(Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images) Xavier Rhodes /

Xavier Rhodes will continue to prove he is human

In 2016 after four seasons, cornerback Xavier Rhodes was named to his first Pro Bowl. He finished the season with 11 passes defensed and five interceptions, including one returned 100 yards for a touchdown. For Minnesota Vikings fans, #RhodesClosed trended often on Twitter.

In 2017, mainly based on his successful season a year earlier,  Rhodes was named First-Team All-Pro.  He finished with only two interceptions with 10 passes defensed. According to Pro Football Reference, Rhodes Approximate Value (AV) soared to an 11, the highest in his five seasons. Pro Football Focus ranked him the 15th-best cornerback heading into the 2018 season. The Vikings truly had a shut-down corner.

Then came 2018. With sky-high expectations, there was really only one direction for Rhodes to go, and that’s what happened. As Adam Patrick pointed out last month, opposing quarterbacks had more success throwing on Rhodes last season than in 2017.  According to PFF, the completion percentage against Rhodes was 65.2, the highest in his career.

It seemed that when Rhodes got beat, he came up lame, limping or injured.  In Week 12 against the Packers, after allowing a 36-yard reception to Davante Adams, it looked as if Rhodes’ season might be over. After needing help off the field he did not finish the game.  In his post-game press conference, Mike Zimmer assured the media that the injury was “very, very mild.” Rhodes was able to make it back on the field the following week, and perhaps have a future in acting.

With a career-low of seven passes defensed, his AV dropped to a career-low of five. Zimmer has gone so far to call out Rhodes saying he needs to live up to his contract.

There are two ways for this to go. With Rhodes’ best season two years ago he needs a huge detour to become #RhodesClosed again.